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Will Islam hold Britain back?

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    It seems to me that you regularly encounter views amongst Muslim practitioners, about homosexuality, abortion, mixed-race/religion marriages, that are totally out of sync with what you'd expect for someone their age. You meet university students who have a puritanism that is highly unsettling for someone in a 21st century, pluralistic democracy.

    The question is, do you think that the rising tide of Islam in Britain will hold it back in terms of being a modern, tolerant, equitable society?
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    (Original post by TieMeUp)
    It seems to me that you regularly encounter views amongst Muslim practitioners, about homosexuality, abortion, mixed-race/religion marriages, that are totally out of sync with what you'd expect for someone their age. You meet university students who have a puritanism that is highly unsettling for someone in a 21st century, pluralistic democracy.

    The question is, do you think that the rising tide of Islam in Britain will hold it back in terms of being a modern, tolerant, equitable society?
    Go to the Bible Belt and you'll see no differences in that respect, even though there are hardly any Muslims there. It's just a consequence of taking religion too seriously.
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    (Original post by No Man)
    Go to the Bible Belt and you'll see no differences in that respect, even though there are hardly any Muslims there. It's just a consequence of taking religion too seriously.
    That is true but there is very little appetite even in pious Christian Americans for theocracy. The US constitution forbids the merger of Church and State and this doctrine runs through the US like a stick of rock.

    OTOH I haven't met many Muslims who are truly secular...all advocate or sympathise with political Islam to some degree.
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    (Original post by snozzle)
    That is true but there is very little appetite even in pious Christian Americans for theocracy. The US constitution forbids the merger of Church and State and this doctrine runs through the US like a stick of rock.

    OTOH I haven't met many Muslims who are truly secular...all advocate or sympathise with political Islam to some degree.
    Very well said. I find it frightening, and it's my experience that hardline Muslim fundamentalists exert this kind of guilt-pull on moderate Muslims, because deep down the moderates know that if they followed their holy book as its written, they too would be fundamentalists.

    I know how quickly things can change from Weimar-style tolerance to Nazi death camps, and how many times its happened in history. That's why I don't take anything for granted, and feel like we have to claw every advance in secularism we can while things are in our favour.
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    (Original post by No Man)
    Go to the Bible Belt and you'll see no differences in that respect, even though there are hardly any Muslims there. It's just a consequence of taking religion too seriously.
    If I lived in the US, I certainly would be worried about it. But I see Muslims as effectively our rednecks and GOP Christian evangelicals. Given the chance, I suspect they would do things like restrict abortion, roll-back gay rights, funnel money into religious schooling etc
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    No. 100% discriminant-free cultural integration is the future. But can it happen?
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    (Original post by TieMeUp)
    It seems to me that you regularly encounter views amongst Muslim practitioners, about homosexuality, abortion, mixed-race/religion marriages, that are totally out of sync with what you'd expect for someone their age. You meet university students who have a puritanism that is highly unsettling for someone in a 21st century, pluralistic democracy.

    The question is, do you think that the rising tide of Islam in Britain will hold it back in terms of being a modern, tolerant, equitable society?
    It's a big problem I think and will only get worse.

    Muslims and non-muslims can barely talk the same language to each other. For example if Islam is criticised (which is perfectly normal in a democracy), Muslims take it as an attack on their tribe...ideas are confused with honour. Democracy cannot work if people cannot engage in meaningful discourse. Islam seeks to derail this.

    I kind of see it like the act transplanting pre-enlightenment European Christians from say the 15th century using a time machine into the 21st century UK. I am just not sure if our democratic institutions are capable of handling this cultural-dissonance and adapting to it. We dealt with this sort of absolutist religious authoritarianism and superstition centuries ago, and our institutions have moved on having resolved this problem with very little 'memory' left of what to do.
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    Depends on whether the Government can get out of this PC mindset.
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    (Original post by snozzle)
    That is true but there is very little appetite even in pious Christian Americans for theocracy. The US constitution forbids the merger of Church and State and this doctrine runs through the US like a stick of rock.

    OTOH I haven't met many Muslims who are truly secular...all advocate or sympathise with political Islam to some degree.
    I doubt that would be that solid if you went to one of the ultra republican areas of the USA, which includes most of the Bible belt.
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    What does "modern" even mean? Do you measure the progress of humanity through simply using time?
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    (Original post by No Man)
    I doubt that would be that solid if you went to one of the ultra republican areas of the USA, which includes most of the Bible belt.
    Even in the deepest south you won't find more than 40% of the population are right-wing evangelicals, and even there somehow they haven't become an Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia.

    If the deep south is as bad as it gets in terms of Christian fundamentalism, then I think that I could live with that compared to what would happen under a Muslim fundamentalist regime.
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    (Original post by Spaz Man)
    What does "modern" even mean? Do you measure the progress of humanity through simply using time?
    No, I measure modernity in terms of societies that value reason and tolerance, that separate religion and state, that don't give credit to superstitious thought or paranoid mindsets; essentially the kind of democracy you see today in the Western countries, and don't see in the Muslim world.
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    (Original post by No Man)
    I doubt that would be that solid if you went to one of the ultra republican areas of the USA, which includes most of the Bible belt.
    No it is really. Remember Christianity in America was basically Protestant in origins. Protestantism rose in opposition to ecclesiastical authority and power as evident with the Catholic church, so it is almost against the 'nature' of Protestantism to seek political power.

    Yes you will find fundies in the US who want theocracy, you will also find people who met Elvis last week.
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    (Original post by TieMeUp)
    No, I measure modernity in terms of societies that value reason and tolerance, that separate religion and state, that don't give credit to superstitious thought or paranoid mindsets; essentially the kind of democracy you see today in the Western countries, and don't see in the Muslim world.
    You act as though democracy and reason are mutually exclusive with Islam...
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    (Original post by Spaz Man)
    You act as though democracy and reason are mutually exclusive with Islam...
    I think so long as Islam claims a remit in public/political life that is so.

    If ideas have no basis other than authority we can say they have nothing to do with reason as they are incapable of being criticised by it.

    If reason is unable to operate within a society, we can say democracy cannot either, all you have is votes.
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    (Original post by Spaz Man)
    You act as though democracy and reason are mutually exclusive with Islam...
    Clearly if Muslims followed the Quran literally, it would be.

    If Muslims are willing to keep their religious beliefs in the private sphere, I would feel less uncomfortable

    Edit: If you want to bring up Christianity, I think the point is that Western civilisation has already had that debate. Over centuries we worked out these questions of where religiosity sits within society, where it is in the public sphere, and so on. My concern is that Muslims are coming from countries where this is not the case, that many do not value the existing "settlement", &c
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    (Original post by TieMeUp)
    Clearly if Muslims followed the Quran literally, it would be.

    If Muslims are willing to keep their religious beliefs in the private sphere, I would feel less uncomfortable
    Reason isn't about making people feel comfortable. It's about achieving the best outcome for humanity.
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    No religion can ever hold a country back unless it's enforced by its state. Islam is never going to be enforced by British authorities, and it can only be practiced privately by individual people and their mosques.

    I'm not a huge fan of Islam, but I don't think it will hold Britain back. The countries you should be concerned about are middle eastern and north african ones where the state is religious.
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    (Original post by Spaz Man)
    Reason isn't about making people feel comfortable. It's about achieving the best outcome for humanity.
    I'm linking my comfort there to my fears that political Islam will attempt to roll-back the civil-rights of gays and women. There my "comfort" is linked to reason, and the general health of society
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    (Original post by Spaz Man)
    Reason isn't about making people feel comfortable. It's about achieving the best outcome for humanity.
    But both means and ends which Islam prescribes are based on nothing but authority.

    So actually all we can say is that Islam is about following Islam. Anything else is complete speculation.
Updated: May 29, 2012
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